Two weeks back, Prakriti, institute’s wildlife club, sent out a mail seeking volunteers for their new Floral Pois initiative. One of the innovative features of this initiative was the inclusion of behavioral therapy for animals around the campus. While this mail failed to generate a decisive response from the students, that didn’t stop Prakriti from conducting insti’s first animal behavioral therapy session, on March 26.
The first Floral Pois session, which was targeted at the monkeys, took place last Saturday morning in the hostel zone. The first of many gags exchanged that morning was how there were more monkeys than student volunteers, when the organizers expected just the opposite. Although each group looked just as apprehensive as the other, the students wasted no time in starting the session, as their volunteers had each the attention span of a monkey.
The first activity on the list was to train the monkeys to not drop off clothes lying on the clothesline. However, this activity was received negatively by some apes, who merely sneered in disapproval, mostly because it was one of the most effective ways to get about, and the little ones looked ridiculous trying to hop up the stairs. Besides, they claimed that it was one of the most effective ways to trouble students, without which they shall face an existential crisis in the institute.
The next activity focussed on table manners, where the monkeys were made to sit around a small table and wait for their turn, an effort to dispense with their primitive ways of eating. Most monkeys handled this effectively, primarily since they weren’t aware that they were going to be served food. At this juncture, the students took a break to applaud at the miracle and pose for a group photograph.
The initial agenda also involved teaching the monkeys how to use washrooms to prevent defacing the hostel corridors. However, the monkeys kept mistaking some rooms for the others, and it was quickly decided that it was best not to teach them to do their business indoors at all.
One of the high points of the workshop was the pick-pocketing training, where the monkeys were trained to steal wallets and money. The instructor opined that this shall encourage the monkeys to not steal food as they could use the stolen money to buy it themselves. The monkeys were also taught how to use the vending machines and can now use them better than a few humans, who take several attempts to get a packet of chips.
After a few other activities, and another break, during which the monkey stuck inside the vending machine was rescued, the animals were finally prepared. Their patience was rewarded with personalised name-tags at the closing ceremony, during which the monkeys looked every which way but at the stage, clearly too excited to pit their newly acquired skills against their more human peers.
According to our sources, a few people rumored to be in the administration approached Prakriti with the idea of training monkeys to wake people up on time for 8 A.M classes. However, the Prakriti student members refused, claiming this would account for an unprecedented encroachment on the students’ lives, and could lead to violent student-monkey conflicts ending with broken hearts and strewn banana peels.
A few angry men (and women) who also witnessed this workshop, wanted to use the trained monkeys to destroy T5E’s servers, claiming that T5E was a biased media body and was being paid to run articles. However, the intelligent monkeys laughed the matter away. (Gosh. Who wrote this article anyway?)
There were also talks of adding a few monkey representatives to the CMGFS and MMCC teams to take in their views, given that they were the primary consumers of the food on campus. The monkeys, however, claimed that they were satisfied with the current system and mentioned that their needs were already well taken care of. They also agreed to participate in the mess feedback process since they had access to the food from all the messes, a luxury the students didn’t enjoy.
We had a chat with some of the masterminds behind Floral Pois. One of the final year students who was a part of the workshop added, “While my friends were visiting Coorg for the long weekend, I stayed back to be able to be a part of this initiative. This was my way of expressing my gratitude to this lovely campus by creating an impact and perhaps leaving behind a legacy. They aren’t just any monkeys, they’re IITians. And despite constituting nearly 30% of the campus population, they continue to be underrepresented in the current system. So, we want to target that by having frequent training workshops. To attract more student volunteers to this cause, we intend to market how this PoR of managing monkeys, could be a great point on one’s resume .”
Now that the session is over, the participating monkeys may be identified as wearing the red Prakriti tag, walking solely on their two hind legs, and minding their own (monkey) business. And to think that a bunch of bananas and a concentrated effort by the student volunteers on Thursday morning were all it took to see a miraculous transformation is reminiscent of spoof articles!
P.S: When the editors contacted Saikanth Dacha, one of the Prakriti student members for a quote, he clarified that there had been a misunderstanding and that the workshop wasn’t conducted by them but was an initiative by Prakruti, a final year student. However, by virtue of their preoccupation and languor, the editors decided to go ahead with the article anyway.
On behalf of the organizers, we request our readers to leave ideas for future workshops in the comments or send a mail to [email protected]
Disclaimer: Please look at the calendar!